You have two kinds of boys born in 1970: Lego boys and Lincoln Log boys. I’m a Lego boy. I was seven years old when I saw Star Wars for the first time, and when I got home I went straight to the Lego box to build the things I had just seen on the big screen. It’s not hard to imagine the scene: a boy on the shag carpet of his bedroom in rural Tennessee, hunched over a bin of Legos in a concentrated effort to connect with the story he’d seen hours before. And after building his own version of Star Wars ships, becoming part of the story himself.
Legos were a way for me to create whatever I could imagine, and I am still doing that now only with paint instead. I am trying to understand why these experiences of real life or moments in stories or movies move me. The first shot of Lux Lisbon in the Virgin Suicides … the way Elwood P. Dowd says, “and the evening wore on” in Harvey … the recording of a my father’s voice telling The Story of the Rose … a late night road trip with an abrasive friend … all of these moments contain the powerful impact of something pure and raw. Since 2002 my paintings have focused on experiences with particular people, hence the series of initials in the titles. Since each painting is based on a specific experience with a particular friend or family member each painting tends to have its own sets of parameters and challenges. I use painting to focus on an experience and to wrap myself in the moment. By building the experience I begin to understand what about the moment moved me to paint in the first place.